Caribou in Canada Under Attack

caribouAccording to the non-profit organization Caribou & You, British Columbia’s caribou population is rapidly decreasing. The Canadian province does not have endangered species regulations like those found in the US, but leaders have begun implementation of a management plan for the declining species.

Although the plan is a step in the right direction, Canada’s largest environmental organizations fear the it is too lenient and not bold enough to save the country’s Boreal Woodland Caribou herds. The Implementation Plan admits that caribou loss is due in part to habitat loss and industrial development, but specifics on how it will reverse the animal’s decline are vague at best.

Three years ago, 500,000 hectares of caribou herd range was made exempt from construction for a five-year review period. Although this provides the caribou some protection, it is only a temporary measure protecting half of British Columbia’s caribou herds. Groups like the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) blame oil and gas exploration for the deterioration of caribou habitat. In fact, 75 percent of Canadian caribou rangeland is also part of petroleum exploration projects. Moreover, 3.5 million hectares of protected land promised by the BC government will continue to allow oil exploration, with some restrictions.

CPAWS hopes leaders will create concrete plans to protect British Columbia’s three caribou populations, the Boreal, Northern Mountain and Southern Mountain. If possible, they would like to create a new national park to protect these creatures.

Rehabilitated Sea Turtle Released Back into the Water

Wednesday, August 3, nearly 1,500 supports witnessed the release of an endangered green sea turtle in Juno Beach, Florida.  The turtle, dubbed Andre, spent over a year in a marine rehabilitation facility healing from massive injuries.  A team of doctors experimented with first time procedures in an attempt to save Andre.  Though many were skeptical the turtle could be saved, the recovery is being hailed as a miracle.

On Father’s Day 2010, beachgoers discovered Andre stranded at a sandbar with two large, gapping holes in his shell.  The injuries are believed to have been sustained by boat propellers.  Though the sea turtle’s flippers were working and his neurological function was normal, Andre had suffered substantial wounds.  Over three pounds of sand were inside him, along with a severe infection, pneumonia, a collapsed lung and his spinal cord was exposed.  Veterinarian Dr. Nancy Mettee, cared for Andre at Loggerhead Marinelife Center and said any one of the injuries could have killed the turtle.

The injured sea turtle was pulled ashore via boogie board before being loaded into an ambulance.  Hospital coordinator at Loggerhead, Melissa Ranly, rode in the ambulance with Andre and said he exuded a tremendous amount of strength.  “We just noted that this turtle was strong.  Even though he had these really severe wounds, he just had this life about him and was in it for the long haul.”  That long haul turned into 14 months of groundbreaking techniques used to save the endangered green sea turtle.

Dr. Mettee and her staff first had to remove sand and other fluids from the shell’s holes.  Loggerhead Marinelife Center borrowed a negative pressure wound vacuum from Kinetic Concepts Inc. (KCI), located in San Antonio.  The system, also known as V.A.C. therapy, removed debris from the wounded area, along with re-inflating Andre’s collapsed lung.  KCI specializes in new technological and therapeutic advancements “to make wound healing manageable.”  Dr. Mattee and KCI collaborated in an effort to insert Strattice Reconstructive Tissue Matrix.  The procedure allowed an acellular skin matrix to act as a brace until Andre’s injuries could heal through the turtle’s own functions.

With internal injuries stabile and the shell gaps filled, the Loggerhead team turned to orthodontist, Dr. Alberto Vargas to help brace the shell.  Dr. Vergas took casts of Andre’s shell to create modified palate expanders – similar to human teeth braces – to help position the shell, allowing for easier healing.  In total, the sea turtle received six orthodontic applications, four aimed at pulling parts of the shell together and two aimed at pushing apart the shell to increase growth.  For three months, Loggerhead employees used keys mechanism everyday to pull together the gapped areas.  In May of this year, the orthodontic devices were removed from the shell.  The procedure proved successful with some areas closing as much as two centimeters.

During Andre’s stay, the resilient turtle became a celebrity as people followed his progress via webcam and letters of well-wishes flooded the Center’s mail.  Over 200 people from across the globe sent checks in hopes of being honorary adoptive parents.  Much of Andre’s fan base traveled to the beach to wish him farewell as he was released back into the ocean.  Those who worked with the sea turtle said the release was bittersweet, but none more so than for Dr. Mattee.  She said she knows the endangered turtle must be released in hopes he will mate, but she fears what he may face back in the water.  Dr. Mattee continued saying she grew to know Andre very well and feels “[i]f it’s possible that an animal could know that we were trying to help I think that he did.”

Photo Credit:  celebrating200years.noaa.gov/activities/dayinthelife.html 

Grand Cayman Blue Iguana Beating the Odds

Indigenous to the Grand Cayman Island, blue iguanas were headed for extinction less than a decade ago.  In 2002, surveys of the lizard found less than two dozen left on the island.  The one time abundant reptile dwindled to a threatened species status.  Through persistent conservation efforts, the lizard is once again thriving in the wild.

Grand Cayman blue iguanas (scientific name is Cyclura lewisi) are “the largest native species of its namesake island.”  This regal lizard is a giant in its own right, growing more than five feet long, weighing around 25 pounds and having a lifespan of 60 years.  Previously, blue iguanas could be found roaming the island’s coastal regions or the inland dry shrub areas.  With red eyes and blue skin tones that intensify throughout breeding season, the reptile is a unique species.  But, expanding roads and farmlands brought danger into the iguana’s habitat.

Expansion of roads placed traffic and iguanas in the same vicinity, sadly killing many iguanas as they sunned themselves on the pavement.  Likewise, growth of farmlands placed dogs and cats in the same environment as the lizards.  Feral cats caused mass destruction to the blue iguana population, eating young lizards and lizard eggs in droves.  Though the loss was catastrophic, conservationists are using their knowledge to better protect iguanas.

Fred Burton, Director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, is one of the driving forces behind the flourishing success of the powerful reptile.  In 2002, Burton and colleagues meet on Grand Cayman to discuss iguana conservation efforts throughout the Caribbean.  While there, Burton convinced the group to create a protection plan for the island’s native lizard.  Burton and team set about surveying the land, finding startling results of the decline of the blue iguana.  More disconcerting, was surveyed lizards were far apart, making breeding virtually impossible. 

Since initial surveys, the Blue Iguana Recovery Program developed a successful conservation campaign.  The organization determined the only way to bring blue iguanas back from near extinction, was captive breeding.  Through trial and error, the team learned iguanas benefit most when released back into the wild at around 2 years of age.  By 2, the reptile is large enough to defend itself from feral cats and other predators.  But, before released into their habitat, the lizard goes through extensive health screenings.  During screenings, blood and fecal samples are studied to determine if the iguana is healthy enough to be released.         

Once healthy status is determined, iguanas are tagged before being released into a 625-acre nature reserve called Salina Reserve.  The reserve is a rich mixture of sedge and buttonwood swamps, dry shrub land and forest area.  The combination makes an ideal release place for the iguanas.  Through the Blue Iguana Recovery Program efforts, a weeklong health assessment which ended July 3, surveyed around 500 blue iguanas.  Burton stated within a few years the organization hopes to reach their goal of 1,000 blue iguanas in protected, wild areas.  He goes on to state they will continue monitoring the reptiles “to make sure they are reproducing in the numbers needed to maintain the wild population.”

Burton and company recently received their first natural breeding victory.  A female released last year, Juanita and a male iguana named Zarco, created a nest together comprised of at least eight eggs.

Conservationists believe blue iguanas will be easier to protect, because now everyone on the Grand Cayman Island is aware of the lizard’s presence.  Burton said the iguanas are becoming a mascot of sorts for the island, with shops to cruise ships named after the iconic reptile.         

Photo Credit: islandpeopleunited.com/island-times/travel/set-out-on-a-blue-iguana-safari

Naked Mole Rats May Have the Answers to Human Health Problems

Scientists from the University of Liverpool and the Genome Analysis Centre, while working with other scientists from across the globe, produced the first whole-genome sequence information on the naked mole-rat, an animal known for its longevity and resistance to cancer.

The naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus Glaber, is a rodent from East Africa. They live in colonies in an underground burrow system that has resulted in a number of adaptations. Adaptations include low metabolic rates, the lack of reaction to pain in the skin, and an inability to regulate body temperature because of the stable underground temperatures.

These adaptations are not the reason scientists chose to study the genome of the rodent though. Naked mole-rats are small creatures, only 8 to 10 cm long, which normally means they would live for up to five years like other rodents of that size; however, Heterocephalus can live up to 30 years.

By sequencing the genome of the naked mole-rat, scientists hope to discover the reason behind the rodent’s longevity and resistance to disease associated with aging. Specifically, researchers will study DNA repair and the genes related to the age-resistant processes.

Dr. Joao Magalhaes of the University of Liverpool stated, “The naked mole-rat has fascinated scientists for many years, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that we discovered that it could live for such a long period of time. It is not much bigger than a mouse, which normally lives up to four years, and yet this particular underground rodent lives for three decades in good health. It is an interesting example of how much we still have to learn about the mechanisms of aging.”

Researchers hope to apply the information they learn from the rodent’s genome to human biology. There has never been a recorded case of cancer in a naked mole-rat and recently, studies have found that the animal may even have anti-tumor capabilities not found in humans or other rodents. With cancer accounting for 7.6 million deaths worldwide in 2008 and even more diagnoses, scientists are looking to the naked mole-rat for answers.

“We aim to use the naked mole-rat genome to understand the level of resistance it has to disease, particularly cancer, as this might give us more clues as to why some animals and humans are more prone to disease than others. With this work, we want to establish the naked mole-rat as the first model of resistance to chronic diseases of aging,” said Magalhaes.

To map the genome, researchers used the latest technology. Advances in the technology allowed for a generation of the first draft within a few days.

This technology can best be described as chemical “scissors” that would cut out long strands of DNA code. The shorter codes are read and pieced back together to produce the genome.

According to the Head of Bioinformatics at the Genome Analysis Centre, Dr. Mario Caccamo, the speed at which the genome was sequenced “is a great achievement considering that this is a mammalian species with typically complex and repetitive genome.” 

The first draft of the genome is available online for other scientists to use in their research. Researchers can download and use the data for certain small-scale analysis without contacting the discoverers. Soon, the data will be available for use with large-scale analysis in collaboration with the Genome Analysis Centre.

Another database was launched before the data for the naked mole-rat became available. This database, considered the most extensive and complete record, contains information about more than 4,000 animal species. It has information such as lifespan, weight, litter size, and sexual maturity, which can be used to compare animals against one another.

Scientists will be able to study the genome of the naked mole-rat in comparison to other rodents and mammals using this database.

Photo credit: research.gov/common/images/PublicAffairs/17022_Naked_Mole_Rat–rgov-800width.jpg

African Rhino Poaching Crisis Continues to Rise

Rhino poaching continues to rise with nearly 200 rhinos killed in the first six months of 2011.  The majority of rhino slayings have come out of Kruger National Park in South Africa.  Latest tallies of Kruger reached 126 killed rhinos.  Law enforcement initiatives are working hard to protect the animals, but many feel authority organizations cannot keep up with poacher’s technological advantage. 

Rhino horns have long been considered desirable on the black market.  Asian countries believe the horns hold mystical powers, with uses ranging from aphrodisiac purposes to beauty treatments to medical cures.  Scientists have dispelled myths surrounding rhino horns, proving they are nothing more than Keratin, the same protein structure nails are made of, possessing no medical benefits.  Despite scientific backing, rhino horn values continue to soar.  Poachers can make $30,000 per pound.  On average, a horn weighs between six to eight pounds, equating to a profit of $210,000 per kill. 

South Africa is home to nearly 90% of the world’s rhino population.  As of last survey, about 19,400 white rhinos and 1,678 black rhinos roam throughout the land.  Kruger National Park houses 12,000 of the country’s white rhino population.  However, Kruger is considered a hotspot for poaching.  The park borders Mozambique, providing an easy escape route for criminal networks. 

As of 2010, conservationists claim rhino poaching has increased nearly 2,000% over the past three years.  The Chinese Year of the Rabbit is on pace to break last year’s record of 333 killed rhinos.  The hefty sums of money poachers make, allow them to afford state-of-the-art instruments such as helicopters, veterinary-grade tranquilizers and night vision.  Many point to technology as the main reason authority groups can’t keep up with poachers.  Dr. Joseph Okori, manager of the World Wildlife Fund African Program, has said South Africa is not dealing with typical poachers.  Criminal poaching networks are more organized with more money backing, making it harder to stay a step ahead.

Authorities are not only troubled by the increase of rhino deaths, but poachers seem to be expanding their target areas.  Swaziland, a small country about the size of New Jersey, fell victim to its first rhino killing in nearly 20 years.  Dr. Okori warned, “We cannot allow poaching to proliferate across rhino range countries.”  He goes on to state that South Africa is fighting a war that without change, could reverse conservation gains made over the past century.         

Conservationists are taking every measure possible in an attempt to combat the illegal killings.  In Kenya, 24-hour surveillance has been established on all remaining rhinos.  Other parts of South Africa are fighting technology with technology, fitting rhinos with GPS tracking systems.  The device is implanted into the horn, allowing authority personnel to be alerted of any unusual rhino movements.  Head of security for North West Parks Board in the Mafikeng Game Reserve, Rusty Hustler, said GPS systems can be programmed for any number of reasons; from the animal running, to laying in the same area for any extend period of time.  He said in the future, GPS tracking systems could also help locate poached horns, recovering them before they land in the black market.

Heightened law enforcement efforts are seeing some positive results, but not enough. Thus far, 123 people have been arrested, but only six were convicted.  Sadly, human blood is being shed as well with 20 poachers being killed during slaying attempts.  Dr. Okori said the only way to deter poachers is to have swift prosecutions, strict sentences and no leniency.   

Photo Credit: muller.lbl.gov/travel_photos/africawildlifefolder/AfricaWildlifeFolder.html 

Kenya’s Elephant Corridor Continues to Offer a Safe Route

Late last year Kenya opened a wildlife corridor allowing elephants to safely cross under a busy road.  Not until January 1st did an elephant bull named Tony successfully use the underpass.  Since Tony’s initial walk, over three dozen elephants have used the route which reconnects Mount Kenya’s highlands and the lower forests and plains.  The area has long been divided by increasing development of villages and farm areas.  Developers think part of the solution for humans and animals to happily coexist is through the wildlife corridor project.

Increased pressure to find solutions for humans and animals to coexist have continually mounted in Africa.  Due to human development many villages are built on one time wildlife land.  With humans taking over land that belonged to elephants (and other wild animals), numerous reports of elephants walking close to homes and scaring villagers are reported.  Further the large mammals destroy farmer’s crops.  But, elephants cannot be to blame.  Growth of human population has created fragmentation in their habitat.  Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, stated that “if African wildlife is to survive, solutions must be found of this nature, where connectivity is preserved through corridors.”

The wildlife corridor project took ten years in the making.  Collaboration efforts between The Nature Conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Mount Kenya Trust and Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson brought the $1 million development to life.  Branson’s donation of $250,000 sparked donation efforts by both private and public donors.  The $250,000 underpass provided the key element in connecting long divided elephant herds.  But, money was only half the battle in completing the project.  Land also needed to be donated and two major farmers contributed a substantial amount of acreage.  One family farm, Kisima’s Farm, donated at least 671 acres.

Many were skeptical that elephants would use a man made path.  In fact, project developers where unsure how to entice the large mammals through the tunnel.  Charlie Dyer, owner-manager of Kisima’s Farm, went so far as to spread fresh elephant dung as an attempt of persuasion.  However, reports claim there was no need to worry.  Elephants gathered at the passage open in anticipation of using the crossing system.  Dyer said he is overjoyed to see elephants using the route.

In May 2008 construction began with the erection of predator-proof fences.  The final project provides elephants with a 15-foot-high tunnel that stretches for nine miles following a traditional migration route.  Completion of the underpass means two distinct elephant groups near Mount Kenya will be reunited; 2,000 elephants on Mt. Kenya’s highlands and 5,000 elephants in the forests and plains.  Hopes are high the united populations will breed, replenishing struggling elephant populations.

The corridor is a new and exciting system to protect elephants from busy developments along with saving farmer’s crops.  Though the underpass is the first of its kind in Africa, the design has been used since the 1950s.  France holds the honor of creating the first wildlife crossing.  Since its development, crossing systems are becoming more popular with countries such as China and India taking advantage of the design.  The United States is even working on a crossing in Vail, Colorado to help reduce collisions between cars and deer, coyote and bighorn sheep.

Sadly, despite the excitement of the successful wildlife corridor, poaching in Africa continues to rise.  Ivory has increased in value and is especially desired in Chinese markets.  According to the Elephant Voices website, a website dedicated to stopping elephant poaching, 38,000 elephants may be killed annually for their tusks.  Conservationists continue to search for poaching solutions, but in the meantime Save the Elephants is using GPS collars on several elephants to track movements.

Photo Credit: aphis.usda.gov/educational_games/multichoice/

John James Audubon’s Study of Birds Honored by Today’s ‘Google Doodle’

Today’s Google Doodle is in honor of French-American ornithologist John James Audubon. As is commonly the practice with the Google Doodle, the subject of the artwork (Audubon’s study of birds) has been arranged to look like the word “Google.” Today is Audubon’s 226th birthday.
The Google Doodle artwork includes a series of songbirds, birds of prey and an owl, all homage to Audubon’s life-long dedication to birds and nature. Audubon’s name is most commonly recognized now as the inspiration for the National Audubon Society, whose mission is “to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.”
However, during his life, Audubon was most widely known as the author of “The Birds of America,” first published in 1827. This book by Audubon contained a broad series of illustrations of birds in the United States. The book, which consisted of hand-colored, life-size prints, was a tremendous success in Great Britain, and the impact on science is still felt today.
Audubon changed the history of ornithology, and had wide ranging impacts on the natural science. Charles Darwin, in “On the Origin of Species” and his other works, quoted Audubon three times.

Racehorses Killed in Cigarette Sparked Highway Blaze

Tragically, six racehorses being transported on a highway in North Carolina were killed recently when a passing motorist flicked a cigarette into the horses’ trailer. The resulting blaze killed all of the animals inside and injured the driver and a good samaritan. 
The driver became aware that the trailer was ablaze while driving down the highway and pulled over to try to save the horses. Unfortunately at that point the fire was out of control and nothing could be done. 
North Carolina state troopers suspect that a lit cigarette tossed from a passing vehicle was the cause of the blaze. However, no suspect has been identified yet.
The horses were all young thoroughbreds who were on their way to Belmont Park racetrack on Long Island to begin a training program.

New Pterosaur Fossil Identified in British Columbia

January 17, 2011- By Jen Noelken

University of Alberta paleontologist Victoria Arbour received the distinct honor of identifying a new prehistoric species.  A fossil found on British Columbia’s Hornby Island was identified as a pterosaur.  Pterosaur comes from the Greek word ‘Pteron’ meaning wing and ‘Sauros’ meaning lizard.  The flying or winged lizard is the first of its kind found in British Columbia and only the second species of pterosaur found in Canada.

The reptile fossil jawbone was discovered off the Pacific Coast on Hornby Island by well known fossil collector Graham Beard.  Beard runs the Vancouver Island Paleontological Museum in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.  He discovered the fossil after breaking open a rock.  Arbour explains fossils are not easy to find in British Columbia.  Fossil hunters comb the beach cracking open rocks with the hopes of discovering a fossil inside.

After his discovery, Beard passed the jawbone to dinosaur expert and Arbour’s supervisor, Philip Currie.  In turn, Currie passed the jawbone to Arbour with the task of identifying the fossil. 

Arbour, whose findings will appear in the January issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Science, “examined the fossil’s distinctive, arrow-like teeth attached to the jawbone and compared them to the teeth of various dinosaurs, marine reptiles, lizards, fish and birds.”  Initially, Arbour didn’t feel the fossil could be a pterosaur because known pterosaurs during the Cretaceous period did not have teeth.  With prompting from a friend to explore the possibility of the fossil being pterosaurs, Arbour finally found a paper on a Chinese pterosaur from the early Cretaceous period showing similar teeth.  Continued research ruled out all other possibilities except for pterosaurs. 

Pterosaurs existed from the Triassic period to the late Cretaceous period about 228 to 65 million years ago.  They are categorized by two groups.  The earlier pterosaurs are known as rhamphorhycnchoids or basal Pterosauria.  The basal Pterosauria first appeared during the Late Triassic period and went extinct at the end of the Jurassic period.  The later are called pterodactyloids which include the well known pterodactyl.  The pterodactyloids first appeared during the Late Jurassic period with the last dying out during the end of the Cretaceous period   “However, both of the two groups together formed the monophyletic group.”  Anurognathus are the smallest known species discovered, no larger than a sparrow.  Quetzalcoatlus are the largest known species with a massive wingspan of 36 feet and very thick wing bones.

At one time research believed that these flying reptiles relied more on gliding rather than active flight.  Further research and analysis on the skeletal features suggests that all but the largest pterosaurs could fly.  “Pterosaurs had hollow bones, large brains with well-developed optic lobes, and several crests on their bones to which flight muscles attached.  All of this is consistent with powered flapping flight.” 

Victoria Arbour’s new species was named, in part, after founder Graham Beard, the pterosaur Gwawinapterus beardi.  Gwawinapterus derives from a combination of ‘Gwa’wina’ meaning raven in Kwak’wala (the native language of indigenous people of Hornby Island) and the Greek ‘pteron.’  The jawbones size gives insight into a potential wingspan of three meters.  However, more bones would be needed to give a more accurate wingspan and size of the reptile.  Other findings suggest the reptile used its long snout and piranha-like teeth to nibble food away from bone and possibly hunted small dinosaurs, lizards or fish.  Gwawinapterus beardi was most likely a scavenger of the late Cretaceous period.

Paleontologists hope that the new finding will open the way for more like findings.  Now that people know pterosaurs fossils exist in the area, they will be more aware of the possibility for discovery.

Virunga Mountain Gorilla Population on the Rise

A recent census data conducted in April and March of 2010 confirms mountain gorilla population is on the rise.  Gorilla beringei beringei, located in the Virunga Massif region of Africa, showed a steady annual growth rate of 3.7 percent over the past seven years.  The total number of mountain gorilla population increased by 26.3 percent from the last census in 2003. 

Virunga Massif, a region straddling three national parks in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to the majority of endangered mountain gorillas.  Diseases, injuries, and poaching brought about a major decline in the 1960s.  In the 1970s, populations stabilized and slowly increased during the 1980s.  With wars and political instability, a complete census of wild gorillas could not be conducted until 1989, which reveled only 250 individual gorillas remained.

The recent census relied on six teams comprised of 72 people systematically walking over 621 miles throughout the region.  Covering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Parc National des Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, the teams collected fresh signs of mountain gorilla groups.  “In addition, fecal samples were collected and subjected to genetic analysis in order to correct for any double-counting of individuals or groups, ensuring the most accurate estimate for the population.” 

Collected data revealed 480 individual mountain gorillas in 36 groups with an additional 14 solitary silverback males.  (The data of 480 was an increase of 100 from the 2003 census.)  In 2006, 302 mountain gorillas were counted in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and four orphaned gorillas in a Democratic Republic of Congo sanctuary.  All combined the world total population of mountain gorillas stand at 786 individuals.   

Spokesmen from several organizations agree no one effort was the primary reason for gorilla population increase.  Instead, they hailed the continuing efforts of conservation, collaboration, trans-boundary coordination, and a renewed commitment of removing mountain gorillas from the endangered species list.  Martha Robbins, a primatologist based in Leipzig, Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, feels there is one key root for the gorilla increase, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme   (IGCP).  Robbins, who led the study, states that IGCP helped communities establish hand made products, allowing the community to rely on handicrafts for tourism instead of poaching.

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme formed in 1991 and is comprised of three coalition groups:  the African Wildlife Fund (AWF), Fauna & Flora International (FFI), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).  IGCP’s mission is to “protect the afromontane forest and the many species it harbours, by ensuring that it is managed sustainably and by tackling the threats to survival.”  In 2003, IGCP helped establish local community projects focused on ensuring economical development including in the Virunga Massif region.  The International Gorilla Conservation Programme believes earth’s survival depends on humanity’s ability to sustain a healthy, balanced environment that includes all aspects of wildlife. 

            More on the International Gorilla Conservation Programme:

                 • http://www.igcp.org/about

Researchers stress, though the numbers indicate strong, positive findings, societies cannot rest on accomplishments.  Ensuring mountain gorilla conservation must remain a continuing effort.  Of the nine subspecies of African great apes, mountain gorillas are the only species experiencing a population increase.  African Great Ape Coordinator at WWF, David Greer, stated, “While we celebrate the collective achievement, we must also increase efforts to safeguard the remaining eight subspecies of great apes.”  

References:

www.afriqueavenir.org – 9 December 2010

www.guardian.co.uk – 9 December 2010

www.msnbc.com – 9 December 2010

www.igcp.org – 10 December 2010

www.fws.gov – 13 December 2010